Published January 27, 2023

Tapping into the City of Barrie's drinking water

Barrie gets its drinking water from two sources

There is a north-south divide when it comes to the tap water in the City of Barrie.

Diane Moreau, Manager of Water Operations, says the northern portion of Barrie gets its water from deep ground wells and the southern portion of the city gets its water from surface water such as Kempenfelt Bay.

As Barrie 360 recently reported, the city is asking residents to provide feedback on Barrie's drinking water by taking a brief survey, which has a Feb. 10 deadline to complete.

In a news release from the city, Moreau said Barrie's drinking water meets or exceeds all provincial safety standards.

"But it's also important for us to hear from our customers. We're hoping to learn the satisfaction level of our customers, and any reasons why someone may choose to drink private water over Barrie's tap water."

When the survey story was posted to Barrie 360's Facebook page, there were people who had no problem with what was coming out of their taps at home, but others raised concerns about taste and the hardness of the water, among other things.

Moreau tells Barrie 360 that because the tap water source for the north side of Barrie is supplied by wells, the water is very hard.

"The hardness is the calcium and magnesium, and those are minerals that are naturally occurring in the water," she explains.

In a nutshell, the water in the north end of Barrie is much harder than in the south end of the city.

She says residents have tried to mitigate the issue by having water softeners in their homes.

Given that the city has 12 groundwater locations, treatment systems would have to be put in place to tackle the issue, and Moreau says that would be cost-prohibitive.

The first ground well was installed in the 60s.

"I think with our very robust source water protection policies that the city of Barrie has and our investment in infrastructure, and our really good preventative, operation and maintenance practices, those wells should last us for a very long time."

Sometimes the pipes that transport the water within your home or apartment need a fix. In that case, Moreau recommends you call the City of Barrie's water operations branch.

"As part of the process, we would go out and ensure there isn't something wrong with the drinking water coming into the building. We would investigate that and also troubleshoot with the individual property owners themselves."

Depending on the parameter, Moreau says Barrie's drinking water could be sampled as frequently as every minute with some online monitoring instruments. She says it's very stipulated by the Ministry of the Environment as to how often the city has to sample its water. For example, something like bacteriological is sampled every week.

The results of the tap survey will not gather dust.

Moreau says they will be presented to city council.

"There might still be some opportunities for improvement in areas such as colour issues or some plumbing issues that the city could help troubleshoot."

Moreau says there will also be a focus on education and outreach programs, which she hopes will instill or increase customer confidence in the city's drinking water.

Besides filling out the survey, there are dates set aside when the public can tour the city's state-of-the-art surface water treatment plant throughout the year.

Click here for dates/times:

And in case you wanted to know, yes, Moreau gets her drinking water from the tap.

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